Plains Indians

The Plains Indians lived on the Great Plains of North America. There were four important tribes: Dakota, Cheyenne, Sioux, and Comanche. On the Great Plains it was cold in the winter and hot in the summer.

The Plains Indians depended on buffalo. They used every part of the buffalo and wasted nothing. They made food, shelter and clothing out of the buffalo parts. The Plains Indians used bows and arrows to kill the buffalo. They also chased them off cliffs. The buffalo moved from place to place to find fresh grass.

The Plains Indians had to follow the buffalo so they needed a home that they could move and a way to move them around. They attached a travois to their horse and moved where the buffalo moved. A travois is made by using two long poles, hooked to your horse to carry your belongings. The poles were dragged on the ground behind the horse. Their homes were called tepees. By leaning two long poles together and putting buffalo hides over the poles women built the tepees. There was a hole left in the top of the tepee so the smoke from the fire inside could get out.


Buffalo meat was used to make sausage. They also kept some of the meat and dried it on racks to eat when they couldn't find buffalo. Today we call that jerky.

The Plains Indians made their clothing out of buffalo hides. It was decorated with porcupine quills, beads and feathers. Boys wore nothing until they were 10. Then they wore a breech clout made of deer skin. In cold weather they wore robes and boots made from buffalo hide. Men pierced their ears and had longer hair than the women. The women wore long sleeved dresses.

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Page created by Dylan
Last Updated: May 21, 2001
Curator: Brooks Widmaier